Mikaela Shiffrin is setting records on and off the slopes
The GIST: Mikaela Shiffrin is giving new meaning to being in elite company. Her record-setting World Cup win on Tuesday showcased her unique appeal as the face of alpine skiing, while spotlighting the uneven business slope the niche sport competes on.
The details: Upon breaking the record, Shiffrin received plaudits from a laundry list of sponsors, including Adidas, Land Rover and Longines. The Olympic gold medalist also earned praise from financial services company Stifel, a newly signed sponsor of U.S. Ski and Snowboard.
The numbers: Between a shockingly disappointing run at the 2022 Winter Olympics and this month’s World Cup–winning rebound, Shiffrin has earned plenty of buzz over the last year. Her Twitter and Instagram posts generated 110 million impressions and 8.3 million engagements in 2022, translating to $8.7 million in social value. A Bluebird
- Shiffrin boasts impressive pull despite the U.S. audience’s growing apathy for the Winter Games. Only one of NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcasts cracked the list of most-watched programs last year, notably on a night featuring Shiffrin.
The context: She is easily a top earner in her sport and raked in an estimated $3 million in sponsorship deals in 2021. Shiffrin is only one of a handful of skiers who collect in the millions, but her impressive haul still falls behind the 25 highest-earning female athletes — the lowest figure on last year’s list was $5.2 million.
Zooming out: The Olympian’s appeal is obvious despite winter sports’ niche status, which sets her up nicely to enjoy long lasting recognition like retired pro Lindsey Vonn. It may be an uphill battle, but the visibility she offers the sport might create a knock-on effect similar to the USWNT’s impact on the U.S. Soccer Federation’s finances.
- Shiffrin’s recent wins could also help skiing-adjacent companies like Stifel with brand awareness right away. The sponsor extended its partnership with U.S. Ski and Snowboard last week, just months after inking the initial deal. Star power.